GAS. Everybody gets it, to varying degrees. It can be a benign personal problem or it can have profound negative effects on the people who are close to you. Often it starts out innocently enough, but it can erupt into a major problem.
Known also as Gear Acquisition Syndrome, this condition can be mild or severe. According to Wikipedia, "Gear Acquisition Syndrome (abbreviated to GAS) is a term used to describe an urge to acquire and accumulate lots of gear". Here are some warning signals to be aware of. If you or a loved one is suffering from any or all of the following symptoms, please seek help immediately at your local outdoor retail store.
1. You park your car on the street because your garage is full of boats/skis/tents/rubbermaid bins of stuff. What's the issue? We are talking priorities here! See point #10.
2. You entice people to go on trips with you by offering to completely outfit them with gear. And you have enough for two or three friends. Strange that these friends never go out and buy their own gear.
3. When packing for a trip you discover items with the tags still on. There are times when it is necessary to buy paddles in winter or skis in summer. Like a sale price so good you can't possibly pass it up. It would be pure craziness not to get that last Salus Ungava PFD on the rack because they are discontinuing that awesome colour next year.
4. You spend long periods of time in the bathroom with gear catalogues. Wait. That's not fair. Nobody should be privy to what goes on in there. (Pun intended.) Is there no privacy anymore???
5. You develop spreadsheets for digitally organizing your gear. Ok, let's not get carried away here. This is a legitimate organizational tool which ultimately saves a lot of time. Really.
6. You make self-depreciating remarks about trying to resist buying another boat. This is really a call for help. Except it's not your fault, there are glaring omissions in your fleet - you only have one solo downriver non-composite boat and you don't have any Twintex canoes. There may be situations that require these particular crafts and if there's one thing an outdoors person is good at, it's BEING PREPARED. So it's a matter of need, not want.
7. You consider old worn out gear as potential home decor items. You develop a relationship with your stuff... it's gone on a lot of adventures with you. However one must make way for the new. Instead of just chucking old gear - I mean, outdoors people are environmental stewards, after all - why not pretend it is still useful and hang on to it for eternity?
8. The most rewarding conversations you ever have are with outdoor retail staff you don't even know. It's not your fault your family and friends have such short attention spans. There must be a support group for that.
9. You spend more time deciding which stove to bring than actually mapping out your trip. There are important decisions to be made here. Go with the Dragonfly which simmers great but is a bit noisy? The Whisperlite? Maybe a canister stove is better, the buddies you've outfitted need something simpler to operate... although there's nothing like cooking up a griddle full of pancakes on the old Coleman...
10. Your spouse calculated the monetary value of your gear is more than your vehicle. Which is why that vehicle is not parked in the garage. You've always chuckled at the guys who ran out and bought a Porsche when they hit their mid-life crisis. Not you, boy. What a waste of money!
Special thanks to a particular Eb's staff member who unwittingly set the wheels in motion for this blog post and who will not be named and who most definitely does not have GAS